In the previous two articles (1–2) of this 3-piece story, we reviewed who the Rams should/might keep from their personal free agents and which are the external additions that can revamp this team in the new era with Sean McVay as their HC.
Entering the final portion of this story, we are going to set the team needs, rank the top 5 in each of those positions and we will take a look on who the Rams might target in the upcoming 2017 NFL draft (with an always fun-to-make mock draft)
First of all, draft picks. As we all know, they are without a first-round pick because of Jared Goff’s trade last year that shipped two 1st rounders (2016,2017) two 2nd round picks (both in 2016) two 3rd rounds (2016, compensatory 2017) for the 1st overall, a 4th and a 6th round picks, all of them in 2016. That leaves the organization with 8 picks (2nd round-5th pick, 3rd round-5th pick, 4th round-5th and 34th picks, 5th round-5th pick, 6th round-5th and 22 picks, 7th round-16th pick).
L.A. haves some huge holes in the OL (T, G, C) WR, LB and CB mainly, so either via draft or free agency, they will try to cover the most of them with quality starters.
This are my top 5 prospects in each position of need for the Rams.
Ryan Ramczyk (Wisconsin) 6’6” 314 lbs.
Garrett Bolles (Utah) 6’5” 300 lbs.
Antonio Garcia (Troy) 6’6” 295 lbs.
Cam Robinson (Alabama) 6¡6” 326 lbs.
Roderick Johnson (Florida State) 6’7” 311 lbs.
Forrest Lamp G (Western Kentucky) 6’4” 305 lbs.
Dan Feeney G (Indiana) 6’4” 304 lbs.
Pat Elflein C (Ohio State) 6’3” 300 lbs.
Ethan Pocic C (LSU) 6’6” 306 lbs.
Dion Dawkins G (Temple) 6’4” 317 lbs.
Mike Williams (Clemson) 6’3” 225 lbs.
Corey Davis (Western Michigan) 6’3” 213 lbs.
Zay Jones (East Carolina) 6’2” 201 lbs.
John Ross (Washington) 5’11” 190 lbs.
Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington) 6’2” 198 lbs.
Sidney Jones (Washington) 6’1” 170 lbs.
Marshon Lattimore (Ohio State) 6’1” 192 lbs.
Marlon Humphrey (Alabama) 6’1” 196 lbs.
Gareon Conley (Ohio State) 6’0” 195 lbs.
Tre’Davious White (LSU) 5’11” 191 lbs.
Haason Reddick OLB (Temple) 6’2” 237 lbs.
Reuben Foster ILB (Alabama) 6’1” 228 lbs.
Tim Williams OLB (Alabama) 6’4” 252 lbs.
Zach Cunningham ILB (Vanderbilt) 6’4” 230 lbs.
Jarrad Davis ILB (Florida) 6’2” 238 lbs.
We will now submerge in the hypothetical simulation of what could happen starting from day 2 of the NFL Draft.
Round 2-Pick 5:-Mike Williams WR (Clemson)
I sincerely don’t think this could happen as I see Mike as a top 15 lock, still, decided to continue with this flow to get to a point. A 1st round talent might fall (injury, off field issues, performance drop) and if that happens, the Rams should snatch that player since they are out of 1st round picks. A contributor for the future.
Other options: Garrett Bolles, Forrest Lamp, Tim Williams
Round 3-Pick 5:-Sidney Jones CB (Washington)
Now this one is interesting. I really think that the best CB in the draft might fall to this point due to his Achilles injury (suffered at his pro day). If that happens, I wouldn’t hesitate, as the Rams are in trouble at CB (again) failing to extend Trumaine Johnson and to have a real solid No. 2 along him. He might shift the course of the ship with coach Phillips now in command.
Other options: Zay Jones, Pat Elflein, Cooper Kupp.
Round 4-Pick 5:-Ethan Pocic C (LSU)
The second best Center in the draft is a nice solid option at that position. I don’t see Pocic as dominant as Elflein, but I certainly see potential to solidify the interior in the draft by just plugging him. He excels in the running game, but will need to get to the gym to generate more power, as he lacks some, especially for the position.
Other options: Erik Magnuson, Corn Elder, Ryan Anderson.
Round 4-Pick 34:-Isaiah Ford WR (Virginia Tech)
A sleeper, Ford is a great contributor, super athlete that if used correctly, will be a mismatch for anyone. Personally, I compare him a little to Josh Doctson, as they are both tall, slim and fast. I don’t see a No.1 upside, but certainly will be a perfect No.2. Plus, he was the BPA at my mock.
Other options: Kenny Golladay, Tyler Orlosky, Daeshon Hall.
Round 5-Pick 5:-Josh Reynolds WR (Texas A&M)
Three receivers in a not so loaded class you might ask. And while you migh be right, this class isn’t slim in WR talent. Many solid contributors will come out from day 3, and Josh Reynolds is the less talked of them all, his ceiling is far up and he could be a No.1, especially for the Rams. Adding 3 WR would put some pressure in overpaid incumbent Tavon Austin and in the new arrival Robert Woods to justify their price, or they might go out the front door sooner than expected.
Other options: Lorenzo Jerome, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Rayshawn Jenkins.
Round 6- Pick 5:-Ejuan Price EDGE (Pittsburgh)
Injuries are a big concern for him, as he has missed more than two seasons because of them. Price isn’t tall or big, but has the burst and explosion to go after QB’s, where he excels. Undersized and injury prone, but should be a good depth to add behind Quinn and Barwin in Phillips new 3-4 hybrid.
Other options: Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Sam Tevi, Jamaal Williams
Round 6-Pick 22:-Josh Harvey-Clemons S (Louisville)
If the name of the game is “draft stealing” this should be a masterpiece. Clemons, a Georgia dismissal for violating their marijuana conduct policy, played the rest of his career with the Cardinals with no red flags. He might still need to work in coverage, he can play good in run support as he is essentially a LB/S hybrid, with tons of potential.
Other options: Joshua Dobbs, Delano Hill, Xavier Woods.
Round 7-Pick 16:-Fish Smithson S (Kansas)
While Smithson might be undersized, he has a nose for the ball, accumulating 6 interceptions and 10 passes defended in 35 games. A day one ST’s ace for whoever that drafts him.
Other options: Garrett Sickels, Freddie Stevenson, Chad Kelly.
McVay and Snead might not be done with their free agency additions, but they don’t have a lot of cap space to compete for the best ones left, they will need to relay on their building blocks that are already on the roster, and to draft smart, if they want to compete from year 1.